George Clooney has a surefire way to stay out of trouble as a public figure in the age of social media: Stay away from it.
In a profile for the Washington Post published Friday, the Oscar-winning actor said he manages to avoid too much exposure to the current 24/7 media cycle by not going into those platforms, which he says would be problematic. if I drink three drinks at night.”
He also shared, “I don’t think you can be a star and be so available.”
It was part of a larger conversation in which Clooney identified how certain movie stars who preceded him, such as Gregory Peck and Paul Newman — both of whom were friends of his before they died — exemplified how to put yourself in the spotlight.
“It doesn’t mean you can’t be crazy and do stupid things, but it means standing up for what you believe in, carrying yourself with a little bit of dignity,” said the “Ticket to Paradise” star. “And they both had a lot of humor about themselves.”
Clooney, who will be honored at the Kennedy Center this month alongside Gladys Knight and U2, among others, is also active in humanitarian efforts in addition to his pursuits as an actor, producer and director.
Ethan Hawke, who directed Clooney in a voice role as Newman in this year’s HBO documentary “The Last Movie Stars,” noted that it’s no surprise that he’s given such a prestigious honor. (CNN and HBO Max are both part of the same parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.)
“It’s interesting that he gets the Kennedy Center Honors this year, because Newman got it, too. They fit in a long line of truly responsible artists, people who contribute to American culture and are civic leaders,” Hawke told The Post. “Whether you like George’s politics, or admire where he spends his money and time, you have to admire his willingness to lead and his willingness to give.”
Steven Soderbergh, whose 1998 masterpiece “Out of Sight” starred Clooney opposite Jennifer Lopez, said the actor is unique in that he doesn’t care that his politics could jeopardize the reach of his fame.
“Standard mode really doesn’t lead you to a place to think about fairness, or defending people who can’t defend themselves. It’s great when people use that juice for those purposes, but it doesn’t flow that way,” Soderbergh said of Clooney’s efforts through his Clooney Foundation for Justice along with his wife Amal, a human rights attorney.
“The current is flowing toward self-orientation and being in a mode of getting everything you can out of this business, and whatever you can out of the world at large. … He is one of the few people who bumps up. That is rare.”
Clooney will be featured as part of the Kennedy Center Honors on December 28 at 8 p.m. on CBS.